If we are to meet our climate obligations, it’s going to take a big effort. What exactly is the scale of the problem? Here are some numbers:
- Edmonton’s emissions in 2019 were 17 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, that’s 46,575 tonnes per day (more data here).
- Our goal is to reduce that to roughly 5.4 million tonnes by 2030, nine short years from now.
- So, we need to cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 12% each and every year for the next nine years.
In what areas can we reduce our emissions?
The above figure represents where Edmonton could take effective climate action (as reported by the city here). If we fully greened our energy system (where we get our heat and electricity), that would solve 36% of the problem. Transportation is next at 28%, then buildings at 19%. We’ll worry about the last category at a later time.
Edmonton needs to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 12% every year until 2030. Our focus areas should be transportation, buildings, and our heat and electricity. At a very high level, it would look something like this:
- Transportation: rapidly convert all cars and SUVs to electric, while more than doubling the share of transit, walk and bike trips.
- Buildings: Perform as many Deep Energy Retrofits on houses and buildings as possible, as fast as possible. We need to be retrofitting 10,000+ houses every year.
- Energy Systems: rapid and deep decarbonization to our electricity and heating systems. This means solar and wind, integration with BC’s electricity grid (they have lots of hydro), geothermal, biomass energy, and anything else we can think of.
Some of the changes need to be driven at the provincial and federal levels, working in tandem. However, Edmonton has many actions that it can take, starting right now, that will bring us closer to our goals. Over the next posts, we will take a closer look at each of the areas above, transportation, buildings, and energy systems, and examine what Edmonton can do, and when, to respond to the climate emergency.
Our first stop: Transportation.